Bears’ defense makes no excuses after laying an egg vs. Packers

“We can be dominant. We just have to continue to get better.’ safety Eddie Jackson said after the Packers scored more points on offense (31) against the Bears with Jordan Love at quarterback than they did in either game with Aaron Rodgers last season.

SHARE Bears’ defense makes no excuses after laying an egg vs. Packers
Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs away from Bears linebacker T.J. Edwards (53) on his way to a 35-yard touchdown reception that gave the Packers a 24-6 lead in the third quarter.

Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs away from Bears linebacker T.J. Edwards (53) on his way to a 35-yard touchdown reception that gave the Packers a 24-6 lead in the third quarter.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

The swagger that the Bears’ defense showed against Justin Fields and the formative Bears offense in training camp was nowhere to be found against Jordan Love and the Packers on Sunday.

Rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson provided some early juice with a big hit on Packers rookie wide receiver Jayden Reed on the defense’s second play from scrimmage. But what seemed like a tone-setter became a mere blip in a disappointing, discouraging 38-20 loss at Soldier Field.

A defense that was resolute about starting fast and recapturing that training-camp swagger — despite several key starters missing time in practice — instead laid an egg. The Packers scored more points on offense (31) with Love at quarterback against an upgraded Bears defense than Aaron Rodgers did against a 32nd-ranked Bears defense in either game last season.

What went wrong? Too many key players hurt during training camp? Too many new players? No real scouting report on Love?

“We can’t put any type of excuses,” safety and captain Eddie Jackson said. “We take the field; we’ve got a job to do. We’ve got to execute our job. It’s as simple as that.”

The Bears didn’t make excuses but weren’t about to pack it in, either. It’s still only Week 1. Defensive tackle Justin Jones already had moved on to next week’s game against the Buccaneers.

“Hats off to Green Bay; we’ll see them again,” Jones said. “Right now our focus is on Tampa Bay. I’m not really worried about it. It’s just one game. We’re got to bounce back. We’ve got a really good team here. I truly believe that.”

Jackson echoed that resolute, if not defiant, sentiment. It’ll take more than one disappointing performance to shake this group. But they’ve got a lot to prove. Even more after Sunday.

“We’re good players,” Jackson said. ‘‘These guys on this roster, I feel like we can be dominant. We just have to continue to get better. Come out fast, start fast, finish strong. That’s our motto. We’re not going to make excuses. Nobody’s pointing fingers, unless it’s at yourself. On Monday, we come in and watch film and get ready for Tampa Bay.’’

Still, against a Packers offense that is re-forming after losing Rodgers — and was missing leading receiver Christian Watson — the Bears’ defense had some disconcerting errors that led to big plays.

With the Packers leading 10-6 early in the third quarter, running back Aaron Jones gained 51 yards down the right sideline on a perfectly executed throw-back screen pass from Love.

“It was good execution,’’ linebacker Jack Sanborn said. “I was over there defending it. They had three linemen there. I gotta make a play. Someone’s gotta make a play. Obviously, good call by them. But we can’t let it go for [51] yards.”

On a fourth-and-three on the Packers’ next drive, Love threw a quick pass to Jones, who not only beat linebacker T.J. Edwards for the first down but went 35 yards for a touchdown that gave the Packers a 24-6 lead.

“They made a good play; I got beat on it,” Edwards said. “But that’s how it goes. I’m excited that we’re gonna get back to it, and nothing’s going to change our mindset whatsoever.”

And with the Bears down 24-14 early in the fourth quarter, Love all but clinched the game with a 37-yard pass to uncovered rookie tight end Luke Musgrave after he had fumbled the snap and recovered it.

Love’s fumble made the play — goading the Bears into going after the ball, according to coach Matt Eberflus’ H.I.T.S. principle. It was that kind of day.

“Everybody went — they saw the ball on the ground. That’s just an instinct thing,” Jackson said. “That’s just an example of something we did wrong. It wasn’t anything they did. It’s what we did. We’ve got to make those corrections and get better next week.’’

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